MACC confirms probe on all 16 Mindef land swap deals over past 25 years

Azril Annuar
Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) chief commissioner Latheefa Koya attends the 11th International Conference on Financial Crime and Terrorism Financing 2019 in Kuala Lumpur November 5, 2019. — Picture by Hari Anggara

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 5 — The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) confirmed today that it is investigating all 16 Ministry of Defence (Mindef) land swap deals that took place over the last 25 years.

Its Chief Commissioner Latheefa Koya said that due to the timeframe, and the fact that the deals involved multiple defence ministers and civil servants, the investigation is set to be very complex.

She made the statement to correct an online report of Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Mohamed Hanipa Maidin telling Parliament yesterday that only one investigation paper had been opened on the land swaps.

“I believe Deputy Minister Hanipa was talking about one of the many cases of land swap. But MACC received 16 reports. But it must be noted that the land swap deals they have given is a long list of cases that goes over more than 25 years as well.

“So we would need time and face difficulties in locating some of these evidences and the tracking. We are talking over 25 years involving different ministers of defence and various civil servants who have changed over the course of the years.

“It is not as simple as just handing us an audit report because some of these land swap — the word land swap  itself is not wrong — but we need to know why the deal was made, why it was made in the manner,” Latheefa explained on the sidelines of the International Conference on Financial Crimes and Terrorism.

Defence ministers during the period under investigation include Datuk Seri Najib Razak, Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamid and Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein.

At the same time, she added that not all the cases will become a full-blown prosecution.

On a related note, the MACC chief also confirmed that the agency is investigating the six helicopters purchased by the previous Barisan Nasional (BN) administration at more than RM300 million and which have yet to be delivered.

Latheefa briefly said that the case is still being investigated but an investigation paper has been opened.

Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu was reported as saying that the government may need to go to court over the six helicopters purchased.

He had told reporters that Mindef will obtain the views and advice of the attorney general over the matter.

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